Take your family on the trip of a lifetime to meet Father Christmas in Lapland

These days my twins Riley and Harris, seven, adore St Nick (or, at least, the presents he brings).

So I decided it was the perfect time to make a magical trip to Finland.

Glovin’ it

When we touch down at Ivalo Airport, a reindeer is waiting to greet us before we board our coach for the 20-minute drive to Saariselkä and (are forced to) sing Christmas songs.

The first thing on the agenda is to pick up thermal snowsuits, hats, gloves, socks and boots – nearing December, the temperature is normally around –12°C but can drop to –30°C, so normal skiwear just won’t cut it. After we’ve been dropped off at our gorgeous two-bed wooden apartment, we pull on our gear.

The twins have barely seen the white stuff since they were born, so they are beyond excited and insist on travelling everywhere by toboggan (towed by me and my husband Alistair, natch).

We even give them a ride to dinner, where we tuck in to a buffet of traditional Lapland cuisine like smoked salmon, plus familiar favourites such as roast beef, chicken, chips and pasta.

Elf-ing around

Early the next morning, after a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs, our coach departs for the Arctic Circle. As there are only a few hours of daylight in Lapland at this time of year, you have to make the most of it. We start with a sleigh ride, then venture into an igloo to meet some mischievous elves.

Next up is a husky ride. Alistair agrees to take the reins, so he’s shown what to do before we set off through the woods pulled by six noisy huskies.

It’s a truly incredible experience as we huddle in the back of our sleigh, gliding through the winter wonderland.

Then, after steaming bowls of spaghetti Bolognese, it’s time to meet the big man himself.

Santa delivers

A sleigh led by reindeer takes us through the woods, where we are ambushed by snowball-throwing elves, before arriving at a chocolate-box cottage where Santa is waiting.

Thanks to a carefully orchestrated pre-trip plan, he has letters the twins wrote weeks before, which they’re astonished to hear him read out.

They leave with a present each and a firm belief that he does indeed exist.

That night, it’s a slap-up gala dinner (and yet more singing), then a disco, after which we all collapse into bed.

For young children, this trip sure feels like all their Christmases have come at once.


A three-day Santa’s Magic family adventure in Finnish Lapland, with a husky sled ride, reindeer sleigh ride and private family meeting with Santa, costs from £789 per person half-board.

This includes accommodation, return flights, airport transfers, selected activities and thermal clothing.

Book at Santaslapland.com.

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